New Zealand: Ombler to remain authority chief

By on 21/04/2015
John Ombler, the acting CEO of CERA, has had his appointment extended until the end of the year

John Ombler, the acting chief executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) in New Zealand, has had his appointment extended until the end of the year, it has been announced today.

Ombler has been acting chief of CERA – the public service department of New Zealand charged with coordinating the rebuild of Christchurch and the surrounding areas following the 22 February 2011 earthquake – since December 2014.

A press release published by the state services commissioner Iain Rennie’s office today stated that Ombler continuing in the role “will provide CERA with consistent and stable leadership as it moves through a period of transition.”

CERA was established in 2011 with a mission to “lead and partner with communities [and local governments] to return greater Christchurch to a prosperous and thriving place to work, live and play, as quickly as possible.”

It was given wide-ranging powers and can suspend laws and regulations for the purpose of earthquake recovery. It was set up to run until April 2016.

A plan is currently being developed to transfer responsibilities and powers from CERA to local government, other government agencies or other delivery vehicles.

Following consultation on draft proposals in the coming months, a final plan is likely to be provided to Cabinet by August 2015, today’s press release said.

Rennie said: “Once the plan is finalised we will be able to move to the organisational arrangements that will support the next phase of the recovery, and start the process of migrating CERA’s functions to other agencies across central and local government.

“Mr Ombler will continue to play an important role in the recovery work and ensuring the smooth transition of CERA’s functions.”

“This will help to provide clarity and certainty for CERA’s staff and stakeholders.

“Ensuring there is effective and stable leadership of CERA during this time of change is important and I am very pleased that Mr Ombler has agreed to remain in the role.”

Ombler held senior leadership roles in the New Zealand public sector for 16 of his 38 years of public service: In early 2013 he retired from his role as deputy state services commissioner, a position held for nearly five years.

Prior to his role with the State Services Commission, Ombler served as general manager, research development and improvement, with the Department of Conservation, as well as deputy commissioner, corporate services.

His wide-ranging experience at the heart of central government administration, and leadership experience in strategic, operational, and research and development roles, was called upon when he led work on the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Act 2011, which established the CERA.

Ombler was appointed the authority’s establishment chief executive, a position he held for four months while a permanent chief executive was recruited.

Roger Sutton became the authority’s first CEO, but resigned in November 2014 after being found guilty of serious misconduct by the State Services Commission. The following month, Ombler returned to CERA as acting chief executive.

Ombler can be seen below giving his monthly update on CERA’s work to lead the recovery.

https://youtu.be/pbIunRYePXY

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World – the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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